Indian producers guild bans Pakistani artists after Pulwama attack

* Shaan-e-Pakistan spokesperson says the show will go on despite Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur pull out

In the wake of Pulwama attack, All Indian Cine Workers Association (AICWA) has announced a blanket ban on Pakistani actors and artists working in the Indian film industry, according to a statement issued.

The statement added that despite the official ban if any organisation wants to work with Pakistani artists, the AICWA will take strict action against them.

“All Indian Cine Workers Association strongly condemns brutal terrorist attack on our soldiers at Pulwama district in Jammu and Kashmir. Our heartfelt condolences to the families of the victims. AICWA stands with nation in confronting such terror and inhumanity. Were officially announcing a total ban on Pakistani Actors and Artists working in Film Industry. Still if any organisation insist on working with Pakistani Artists will be banned by AICWA and a strong action will be taken against them. Nation comes first, we stand with our nation, the notice read.

‘Shaan-e-Pakistan is about promoting fashion, music, art and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics; the event is still very much going ahead and on course to take place in March,’ the spokesperson says

Meanwhile, days after Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi canceled their upcoming visit to Karachi citing the Pulwama attack, singers Rekha Bhardwaj and Harshdeep Kaur have withdrawn their name from Shaan-e-Pakistan 2019 gala, which is being held next month.

Rekha, who is well known for her versatile songs like ‘Genda phool’, ‘Kabira’, and ‘Ghagra’, was a star attraction at the gala, where Indian and Pakistani talent would have shared the stage for a musical summit and awards night on March 21 and March 22. “I canceled our show to Pakistan immediately after the Pulwama attack,” Rekha said. Harshdeep, who has sung melodious numbers like ‘Heer’ and ‘Dilbaro’, confirmed that she will also not be a part of the event in Lahore.

Nevertheless, the show, where Pakistan’s Javed Bashir will be producer and director of music, won’t be affected. “We have no news on Rekhaji and Harshdeep Kaur,” Rehan Babar of Aden Rehan PR and Management Solutions, official PR Partners of the event, told IANS from Lahore when asked if they will be going ahead with the event.

“‘Shaan-e-Pakistan’ is about promoting fashion, music, art, and culture and bringing Pakistan and India together on these platforms. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with promoting peace and love through art and culture. Regardless of the current political tensions, Shaan-e-Pakistan is still very much going ahead and on course to take place on March 21 and 22,” Babar added.

Published in Daily Times, February 19th  2019.